An Introduction to African Languages by G. Tucker Childs

By G. Tucker Childs

Offering an advent to the linguistic examine of African languages, the orientation followed all through this booklet is a descriptive-structural-typological one, in preference to a formal-theoretical technique. Formalisms aren't eschewed in keeping with se yet relatively are invoked after they relief the vital thrust of the e-book, that is to explain and symbolize the languages of Africa in a succinct and concise demeanour, and to make the proof available to the unusual reader. to assert that the procedure is typological signifies that a given constitution is in comparison to constructions of an analogous style (typically ones ordinary to the readers), set inside a longtime variety of edition, and characterised as traditional or unforeseen. additional element can also be supplied, the place attainable, by way of the structure's synchronic distribution and diachronic beginning. The textual content assumes a minimum of a few wisdom of language constitution at the a part of its readers, yet not anything past that obtained in a first-year linguistics path. The publication is geared up through linguistic area or sub-field inside linguistics, and every of the chapters will be learn independently. Readers can therefore learn selectively or learn the ebook sequentially from cover-to-cover. teachers can use the e-book as a textual content for a path in African languages or maybe language typology. there's beneficiant indexing through subject, language and writer; appendix comprises primary substitute names for the languages mentioned and directs readers to listings within the language index.

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The implausibility of this grouping is underscored by the fact that it contained languages from all four genetic phyla (Bender 2000: 57)! 28. Bender notes than an overview of the debate on Mischsprache (the idea that languages of the Sudan were mixed) and the concept of Hamitic-Nilotic can be found in Gregersen 1977; an expanded statement of Greenberg 1949 appears in Greenberg 1963. 35 36 An Introduction to African Languages Picture 3. Fula couple Picture 4. Maasai mother, son, and grandson (courtesy of Doris Payne) Picture 5.

Such measures allow insights into social processes and language change, insights absent from a purely structural analysis, ones that allow a more accurate extrapolation from the purely synchronic to the diachronic. These insights may also allow for extrapolations in the other direction: predictions can be made about language shift and even language death. For example, in the townships of South Africa and elsewhere, urban varieties have arisen that have been claimed by both insiders and outsiders to be unintelligible to outsiders, despite being just an age-graded dialect or slang.

Rodney 1982. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the lack of world attention and resources devoted to Africa’s current civil wars, famines, and chronic debt problems at the start of the twenty-first century. And now there is AIDS. Another legacy of colonialism is the persistent discrimination found in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. There is a need for validating and legitimizing Africa, its people and its cultures. One way is by (re-)valorizing the languages of Africa (Hutchison 1999). The relationship of outsiders to the continent and its peoples has not been an untroubled one even after the colonial period.

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